The world of solar energy is complicated and can be overwhelming to the novice user. Solar energy is rapidly gaining popularity, however, and it is possible to find solar products everywhere from local hardware stores to online shops.
Solar energy remains popular because it provides homeowners with a clean, sustainable source of energy that pays for itself over time.
If you are interested in adding a source of solar power to your home, use the following guidelines and tips to help avoid disaster and create a long-lasting, sustainable energy source in your home.
Types of home solar panels
Homeowners have a variety of solar panel types to choose from when installing solar energy in their homes.
The two most common types, thin film and photovoltaic offer distinct differences in the energy they provide.
- Thin film panels are better at absorbing extreme heat temperatures, and may be better for hot regions. Thin film solar panels use a liquid silicone to harvest the energy from the sun and transform it into useable electricity for your home. In general, thin film takes up more space than photovoltaic panels.
- Photovoltaic panels use monocrystalline crystals to collect the sun’s energy. These panels require less space to install, but are more rigid and may soak up less energy than thin-film panels. In general, photovoltaic panels provide better heat absorption in cooler climates than thin-film.
Installation costs of solar panels
The installation cost of solar panels varies widely based on the type of panels you use, the amount of panels, and whether you install the panels yourself. According to the United States Department of Energy, most solar panels will cost about $10 USD per watt of power produced by the unit. Supplemental solar systems can cost up to $10,000 USD, and larger systems can cost $20,000 USD or more. Before agreeing to any prices, check with several other installers to ensure you receive a fair price.
How many panels do you need?
How many panels you need depends on the intended use of the system. Most solar panels produce between 20 and 175 watts per panel. Depending on how much traditional energy you want to replace in your home, you could use just one panel, or install over 20 to prevent the need for other energy sources. Many homeowners start with two or three panels and add on as they have the money.
Check the inverter box
Before choosing any solar panel, check the inverter box efficiency rating. The inverter box is the unit that converts the sun’s energy into useable electricity. The more efficient your inverter box, the more energy your solar panels will provide. Generic brands of inverter boxes and solar panels will usually have lower inverter efficiency ratings than name-brands.
Use certified products
Government certification on solar panels is a must. These certifications ensure that the components of your solar panels are safe and efficient. Each country has a different certification system, and it is important to know what certifications are required in your country. Do not purchase any solar panels that do not have officially certified components, or you could be throwing money away on a system that will not work or will require expensive upgrades before you can use the unit.
Choose solar panels that have warranties for 20 years or more to ensure you receive the highest quality items. If your unit does not come with a warranty, then if the panels break, you will have to replace the unit out of your own pocket. A company will not place a warranty on an item that will not last, so you can rest assured that panels with warranties provide the highest quality energy production for your home.
Ensure quality installation
You may think you can save money on your solar panels by going with the least expensive installer, or even by installing the panels yourself. However, this is a risk that may not pay off in the end. Quality installers use quality mounts and hardware to install solar panels. Companies that charge significantly less for installation may install your unit sloppily, or use products that will break in just a few years. Always aim for the highest quality installation to ensure your solar panels perform at maximum efficiency throughout their lives.
This is a guest post by Andras Deak, a part-time guest-blogger and a full-time green living enthusiast. He tries his best to combine modern life with sustainability. Andras works for Eco-Kinetics, one of the most experienced home solar panels company in the United Kingdom. When Andras is not working, he likes to work on his aquaponics.
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